OK, I know that a lot of SharePoint deployments out there have not even upgraded to Service Pack 1. Previously I blogged about why you should upgrade to Service Pack 1 and that any new SharePoint farms being deployed should be using the SP 1 MOSS/WSS build. Microsoft has made a recent announcement that service pack 2 will be made available soon. I don't have a definite date yet. Let me highlight to you why you need to ensure that you have a proper process in place to update and manage your existing SharePoint deployments. When I talk about "deployments" I refer to your DEV > STG > PRD environments and that all of these should be patched and updated so each one has the same service pack and hot fix levels.
One of the issues that you may have is that in order to update your existing SharePoint servers you will have to schedule downtime. However you may look at it the downtime period is purely dependent on each deployment and currently cannot be avoided. However the good news is that if you plan well enough and keep your SharePoint farm healthy you can minimise the downtime when applying service packs and updates. This is due to a few reasons.
There are two phases of updating when applying service packs and updates.
- Installing the updated binaries
- Running psconfig
The second phase, running psconfig, is the one that is going to take a longer time period and also the cause of downtime. The time taken is directly proportional to the amount of site collections/data that is present within your SharePoint deployment. Psconfig upgrades each content database schema and in many installations this may take many hours to complete resulting in longer periods of downtime.
So in essence if you wanted to minimise your downtime the approach that you can take is to plan to update your configuration database first and attach each content database individually once you have run Psconfig.
In a real world scenario your approach to this should include the following steps.
- Identify content databases and web applications in your farm that require high availability and should be back online at the earliest possible time
- Communicate to your business/stake holders of the planned outage
- Take your entire farm off line
- Detach all the "Content" databases
- Install the WSS updates
- Install the MOSS updates
- Run Psconfig ONCE. You only need to run PSconfig once after installing all the updates and not after each update
- Start attaching each content db to web applications starting with the most important one first (Note that you can only attach one content DB at a time and after the update a full crawl will be started)
- Communicate to each business/stakeholder about availability after each content db attach is completed
Some tips: Make sure that you have backups of your content dbs before making the updates. Ideally a full DR farm should be on standby. The recently released Infrastructure Update (IU) is a critical update that will provide the groundwork for many future updates. So ideally if you are building a new SharePoint deployment today please make sure that you follow this build order.
There is no media (CD/DVD) which includes SP1 for MOSS; however a cumulative updated MOSS + SP1 build can be downloaded from the following location. Please ensure that you always check and test your build order as part of your deployment.
1. The 2007 Microsoft Office Servers Service Pack 1
2. The Windows SharePoint Services Infrastructure Update x86 x64
3. The Microsoft Office Servers Infrastructure Update x86 x64
4. KB 953397: Excel Server Security Update x86 x64
5. KB 955586: Document Lifecycle Workflow Update
6. August Cumulative Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (Global)
7. August Cumulative Update for Microsoft Office Servers
What Do I get with Service Pack 2?
- Improved Read-only Content Databases
Whenever a content database is marked read-only, all of the site collections in that database are automatically marked as read-only.
- ECM Performance and Manageability Improvements
Improved performance and manageability in variations, including STSADM commands for repairing links between source and target pages.
- Improved Index Rebuild Timer Jobs
SharePoint content databases running in SQL Server 2005 will undergo an automatic index rebuild, which helps stop defragmentation, and stop the database from degrading in performance.
- Upgrade Checker
This will scan your SharePoint farm in advance of applying SP2 and will provide feedback on the environments readiness to upgrade.
Service pack 2 will also apply to Office Programs
For Office Desktop Programs:
- Improved Outlook Calendaring Reliability
- Improved Outlook Performance
- Enabling Object Model support for Charts in PowerPoint and Word
- Improved cryptographic functionality by supporting all cryptographic algorithms offered by the operating system
- Improved functionality in Excel’s charting mechanism
- Ability to ungroup SmartArt graphics (and as a result, the ability to add animations to them in PowerPoint)
- Ability for Visio to export UML models to an XML file compliant with the XMI standard
- Tool that enables the uninstall of Office client Service Packs
So look out for the next update and make sure you start planning your updates and if you haven't already updated your servers make sure you update them to at least Service Pack 1.
Previous Posts on Service Pack 1 > http://www.chandima.net/Blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=134
Post SP 1 Updates > Recently Released Post SP 1 updates for SharePoint
Infrastructure Updates >Infrastructure Updates for SharePoint (KB951297 - MOSS and KB951695 - WSS) > SharePoint Post SP1 Infrastructure Update - August Cumulative Updates